Inventors against coronavirus

Inventors against coronavirus


The novel coronavirus pandemic has irrevocably changed the world, causing a massive loss of life and shattered economies. Despite these circumstances, human resilience and inventiveness are already paving the way to recovery. Meet the inventors working on solutions that will ultimately lead to a safer, healthier and more sustainable future.

The great vaccine race

Rino Rappuoli has dedicated his career to improving vaccine technology. Thanks to his innovation, modern vaccines are not only safe and effective, they can also be produced much faster - a critical development in the fight against COVID‑19. In two separate interviews, Professor Rappuoli discusses how his invention could also fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria (watch video) and the scientific community's response to the pandemic (listen to podcast).


Piecing together a puzzle

There is much that is unknown about the novel coronavirus. For example, could high death rates be related to the virus attacking not only the lungs, but other organs as well? Hans Clevers collaborated with scientists across Europe and used his organoid technology to find answers. The future for organoids looks promising, with potential for use in personalised medicine (watch video) and organ transplants (listen to podcast). 


Q&A with a vaccine expert

Ian Frazer is well known as the co‑inventor of the HPV vaccine. More recently he has been fighting disinformation, sharing expert and candid views on coronavirus, thereby helping the public overcome the anxiety that has accompanied the current pandemic. The University of Queensland professor has also discussed what it meant to win at the European Inventor Award (watch video) and the plan to eradicate cervical cancer (listen to podcast). 


The 90 minute game changer

When the novel coronavirus pandemic arrived, Helen Lee quickly realised that her point‑of‑care device could be used to test for SARS‑CoV‑2. Not only is SAMBA accurate, it delivers results in 90 minutes, substantially faster than earlier testing methods. Dr Lee helped turn the tide against HIV in developing nations (watch video) but has also found time to serve as CEO and chair of a company and mentor students (listen to podcast).


Re-awakening the city that fell asleep

Thomas Tuschl has been conducting groundbreaking research in New York city for two decades. When the pandemic forced the city that never sleeps into hibernation, Professor Tuschl immediately took up the fight and began exploring potential treatments. He is also an expert when it comes to mRNA (listen to podcast) and is beginning to research the innate immune system (watch video).


Tracking the invisible

How do you keep track of a virus that cannot be seen by the naked eye? With Galileo, the world's most accurate global satellite navigation system. José Ángel Ávila Rodríguez, who co‑invented the system's radio signals, discusses the use of satellites in mapping outbreaks and tracking infections. In separate interviews, the system's inventors discussed the latest developments in Galileo (watch video) and explained the importance of the satellite network in Europe (listen to podcasts with Günter Hein and José Ángel Ávila Rodríguez).


To find answers, read the right book

For Jan van den Boogaart and Oliver Hayden, blood is the book of life and the ability to read it helps them understand a variety of diseases. The pair use cutting‑edge techniques to analyse blood and, as the pandemic unfolds, they hope to provide greater insight into coronavirus effects. The European Inventor Award winners have spoken about what it is like to win such an award (watch video) and discussed world-leading research conducted in Munich (listen to podcast with Oliver Hayden).